What kind of a name is that?
I invite you to notice that
is the sound of deportation.
My name is not contagious.
Is quarantine necessary?
Wouldn’t exile be better?
I remember I’m from nowhere
but a spurt in thoughtless dark:
you’ve nowhere to send me.
It’s French, I could say. Who knows
the difference? The difference is that
it’s Arabic with French panache.
Jeh-lool, go on, try it.
Terrorists bear the name, scientists
and singers, and a few cashiers
can even say it without help
because they’ve turned their battlements
into condominia of hope.
What kind of name is that?
The name of a Saracen lancer
ghosting in the dusk of Provence
and the name of a citizen deported
a thousand times a year.
“Djelloul” is from Far from Algiers (Kent State University Press, 2008).
Audio file of this poem is courtesy of Djelloul Marbrook and The Kent State University Press, from a CD of Marbrook reading the poems from his collection Far from Algiers.